Partnerships can often form from circumstances beyond anyone’s control, and this has proven to be the case with a partnership between Skills of Central PA and ReInvision Huntingdon.
After it was discovered there was damage to the window on the door of the Little Free Library at the George Weaver Memorial Park in Huntingdon Borough last week, a social media post from ReInvision Huntingdon prompted those from Skills to step up to help repair the damage.
The Little Free Library was installed by Sarah Worley, as she received a Small Projects, Big Ideas grant from ReInvision Huntingdon in 2017.
“(The damage to the Little Free Library) was posted on ReInvision Huntingdon’s Facebook page, which I saw was shared, as I have friends here in Huntingdon,” said Christpher Knarr, director of community services at Skills of Central PA. “Some of the staff at the Skills vocational shop in Huntingdon were discussing this, so I reached out to Ryan (Gibboney) at ReInvision Huntingdon, who had said it had not been fixed, so ReInvision and Skills worked together to get it fixed.”
Ryan Gibboney, founder of ReInvision Huntingdon, realized this partnership is one that can continue, as she was also inspired by a post seen on Facebook about the work of Skills on a Little Free Library in Mount Union.
“Something important to know is there is ongoing maintenance of these projects after they are initially funded and created,” she said. “Things come up where they could be damaged, or they may need a fresh new coat of paint.
“I know they recently worked with Mount Union to do a joint Little Free Library and food pantry, so when I saw that was completed, I was excited to see that,” Gibboney added. “When Chris reached out about fixing our library, I thought we could partner with Skills and the Huntingdon County Library to maintain them, and perhaps do more.”
Gibboney also added the Little Free Library that’s located near the community garden on Fifth Street has no books, but Knarr said he and his staff at Skills of Central PA. have promised to fill the library with books.
“If people would like to donate books, they can bring books to the Huntingdon County Library, or drop them off at Skills of Central PA on Pennsylvania Avenue in Smithfield, and Chris has promised to make sure (the Little Free Libraries) are stocked,” she said.
Knarr said this partnership is a wonderful opportunity to let people know the work the employees of the vocational shop can do, and it’s a great way to help improve the community, not just with the current Little Free Libraries, but perhaps with other projects.
“A situation that started with a negative has turned into a wonderful opportunity for ReInvision Huntingdon and Skills of Central PA to collaborate on not just maintaining the libraries, but also looking to partner on other volunteer projects, as well as more Free Libraries for Huntingdon County,” he said. “We will be meeting in the future to discuss our opportunities to work together.”
Gibboney is grateful of how organizations and people in the community step up to the plate to when bad situations occurs.
“We’re a volunteer-run organization, so we rely on community when things like this come up,” she said.
Gibboney is also hoping to see some community support at a yard sale, scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 8, at 2126 Taylor Ave., Huntingdon. Proceeds from the sale will go directly toward revitalization initiatives for ReInvision Huntingdon. For more information about ReInvision Huntingdon or any of its programs, send an email to ReInvisionHuntingdon@gmail.com with details.